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Muscovy Ducks - hundreds of eggs, not sitting regularly...?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

So, I have about 9-10 Muscovy ducks that live on the ponds that border my back fence.  I've been feeding them once/day the standard layer.  Plus, 9 of them are the ones I raised from an abandoned clutch last year.  So I understand why they are laying eggs on my property.

 

What I don't understand is why they aren't regularly sitting on them.  It looks like 3 hens layed about 20 eggs each in a combined nest inside a box I built in the corner of my back fence.  Only 1 hen sits on the eggs during the day and some nights she's not there at all!  First, I don't think she can hatch 60 eggs.  Second, shouldn't a broody hen sit on them all day/night with the exception of a morning, swim, food, bathroom break?

 

Next, I have another hen the filled a nest on my front porch near my door with 20 eggs.  Each morning we'd find her there popping an egg out.  We left for two days with 6 eggs in the nest and the 2 days later there were 20 eggs!  So, again, I think another hen is using her nest to drop off her eggs.  Now, recently, during the day the hen will sit on them throughout the day.  But come night, she's gone.

 

We had nests on the side of our house during the cold months and the hens were religious about sitting them.  Now that it's a little warmer they seem very lazy about it.

 

Is this normal?  Anyone have insight to this?

 

Thanks.

post #2 of 6

Just because a duck lays eggs that won't mean she will become broody. Broody is a behavior that only few hens actually have and most of the time they are hens that are much older then a year old. Your best bet is to remove all the eggs before they rot  and break and you have one NASTY mess.

 

You will be able to tell if the hen is broody. A hen will lay up to 8 eggs and then sit on the eggs all day all night and won't move!!! Hens that get off the eggs all day and just come back to sit are just "acting" broody! :)

 

Have you actually hatched eggs out? This past winter?

 

 

 

Sorghum Creek Farm

Northern Wisconsin

 

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Sorghum Creek Farm

Northern Wisconsin

 

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post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Perhaps I misused or prematurely used the term "broody."  The problem still exists that they are laying eggs at a rate of 5-7 a day and are not consistently sitting on them.

 

Yes, I could possibly remove the eggs.  I'm of the opinion, though, since they're likely fertilized (there's been a lot of duck raping around here), I don't want to take someone's baby.  Second, when they started this egg operation in Dec and it was cold outside, I took over 50 eggs inside and incubated.  Not only was it a lot of work, and not only are Muscovy eggs hard to incubate, but only 3 survived completely.  Many, many died trying to get out of their shell.  

 

So this round I promised The Wife I wouldn't tamper with nature and let them do their thang.  

 

I just want them to do it!

 

 

post #4 of 6
Well 20 eggs is way to much for a hen to keep warm i wouldnt allow moew then 11 eggs and I have never had all all 11 eggs hatch. Your hens are just laying all in a pile in which leaves to many for any hen to brood so in natures way they aren't going to sit on them.

I guess I don't know what else you can do if you don't want to remove eggs they will eventually rot but I guess you at least gave them a shot. I could only suggest cooping a few females with there own shelter to lay in which will allow them to lay the correct amount of eggs without other hens laying in them also smile.png

Sadly, you can't force a muscvoy to sit, they are domesticated ducks there for even though they are known to be the best breed to hatch there young you will still find many will not. If the eggs have been left for over a week without protection they will likely be bad.

We sell our eggs, if I get a true broody I allow her to hatch them, we incubate some but I only have one hen that is true broody hen and will do the work herself smile.png.
Otherwise if hens could brood all spring id be over run with ducklings!!

 

Sorghum Creek Farm

Northern Wisconsin

 

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Sorghum Creek Farm

Northern Wisconsin

 

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post #5 of 6

Birds do not sit on their nest until they have collected all the eggs they want.  If they stayed on the nest all the time, the eggs would hatch at different times.  The eggs must start to develop at the same time, so the hen collects them all before she starts incubating them.

 

If you don't want ducklings, pick up and destroy all eggs.  If you want ducklings, stay out of it.  The duck knows a lot more about hatching eggs than any of us do.

 

Muscovy are very clever at raising their own young.


Edited by Oregon Blues - 3/14/12 at 8:47am

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Exhibition quality Blue Swedish Ducks and Gray Saddleback Pomeranian Geese,   Hatching eggs available in late winter and spring. NPIP

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post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

I wouldn't say 20 eggs is too much, but definitely the limit.  One of the hens last year hatched a full 20 chics.  Of course, she killed off about 12 of them via snapping turtle or drowning day 1.  We rescued the remaining 9.  Now it's those 9 who are laying crazy eggs everywhere!

 

I've learned they won't lay on their nest until they've collected all the eggs they want.  A thought I've had is that the hens are using one nest collectively but only 1 hen is broody.  Perhaps she has some internal "egg counter" that she's only laid so many eggs which starts her clock to sit.  One nest has at least 60 eggs but maybe she was the last one and got stuck sitting on them...who knows?

 

What I do know is that I now have a nest in the backyard in an enclosed 3x2x2 box with 60 eggs and one broody hen.

I have a nest on my front porch with 19 eggs and a day-shift only broody hen.  Night time she's gone.

And I have another nest about 6 ft from that one that is getting filled 3 eggs a day.  I'd give it another 4 days and it will be full too!

 

 

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